A hi-tech video capture system that is helping Britain’s hopes for boxing glory in 2012 has won a major award for its work with GB Boxing athletes.
The iBoxer system, developed by researchers at Sheffield Hallam University’s Centre for Sports Engineering Research (CSER) in conjunction with the English Institute of Sport (EIS), won the Best New Sports Technology category in the MBNA Northern Sports Awards.
The system uses a series of cameras to monitor boxers’ movement in the ring, which is fed directly to a series of touchscreen monitors in the gym. The athletes then go over the footage between bouts in order to analyze and improve performance, define fight strategy and gain a better understanding of their opponents’ tactics.
Professor Steve Haake is director of CSER, which is a UK Sport innovation partner. He said: “Once the athlete has completed a three-minute sparring round or training session they can come out of the ring and get immediate video feedback on the aspects important to the session.
“The iBoxer system also stores the judges’ scores and videos for thousands of bouts, which can easily be searched using a laptop or touchscreen PC.”
As part of its sport science back-up team, provided by the EIS, GB Boxing has a full time performance analyst, Robert Gibson. He has trialled the system with the Olympic squad, based at EIS Sheffield.
Robert said: “Some of the things we’re looking at are to do with points scoring dynamics. Where are points scored during a bout? What are the current gold medallists doing? What are we doing compared to them? Then we look at punch efficiency. How many punches were thrown per point? And if a point isn’t scored why not?”
The system is unique in world boxing and has been well received by the Team GB boxers, who have been using performance analysis for some time to help inform strategy and tactics at major championships.
GB Boxing performance director, Rob McCracken, said: “Performance analysis is an important part of our boxer’s preparations. It provides us with insight on their opponents’ strengths and weaknesses and, by providing them with this knowledge, it builds confidence.
“The iBoxer system has supplemented our work in this area and enhanced the quality of our performance analysis.”
Dr Scott Drawer, head of research and innovation at UK Sport, said: “Our work sets out to help our athletes and their coaches learn faster than their international opposition, and this is a great example of where increasing knowledge and understanding of the sport can give our athletes a real performance edge.
“I’d like to thank our innovation partners at Sheffield Hallam University for making this possible and congratulate them on this well deserved award.”